A giant arachnid just descended upon Hermann Park, weaving its web of sorts just above the Jones Reflection Pool where it appears to float on the water's surface as part of the Hermann Park Conservancy's year-long Art in the Park series celebrating the historic green space's centennial.
With careful placement via cranes and expert installers from Ty Art on Wednesday, the colossal copper sculpture titled Spider, created by the late internationally acclaimed artist Louise Bourgeois, joins the wildlife and outdoor art at Hermann Park through August.
The newest addition to Hermann Park comes from an anonymous private collector in Houston, who graciously offered the loan specifically for Art in the Park.
"This is the only Spider by Bourgeois that is a water installation, with the other one in Germany."
"With Art in the Park, we have a group of art professionals who started thinking about what would make interesting installations," Doreen Stoller, executive director of Hermann Park, said in a phone conversation. "The operative word of what we would put the park was 'delight.'
"Louise Bourgeois is known as the grand dame of the American abstract movement, so we are very pleased with this donation."
In fact, Bourgeois' abstract spider creatures — her largest titled Maman stands more than 30 feet tall — earned her the nickname of "Spiderwoman." That sculpture has traveled the world, fascinating observers with its gigantic yet delicate statement.
Robert McClain of McClain Gallery helped facilitate the loan of Spider, one in six of editions done by Bourgeois. Lea Weingarten of the Weingarten Art Group, serves as project manager for Art in the Park.
"This is the only Spider by Bourgeois that is a water installation, with the other one in Germany," Weingarten said at the grand finale of the sculpture's placement. "That one is more crouched, while this one's legs spread out. We wanted to place it here where the water was cascading around it."
Weingarten said the Houston sculpture weighs about 2,000 pounds. Measurements: About 11 feet tall and 21 feet wide. Even at those dimensions, our Spider exhibits a strength in metal work yet with a spindly, even intricate, appearance.
"The Art in the Park project has been so wonderful so far, giving visitors to the park so many different ways to see the park. It provides that element of surprise, which we hope encourages more people to visit not just the park, but our wonderful museums," Stoller says.